The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has agreed a landmark global partnership with international banking giant Citi, which will run for two years, taking in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The agreement notably includes rights to 18 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) – including ParalympicsGB – adding the possibility for Games-time activation in the bank’s key markets.
Citi is hailing the deal as its “first ever global mission-led sponsorship.” It says it will use the partnership to raise awareness for the Paralympic movement, support para athletes and advocate for societal change in perceptions around disability.
The agreement adds to the bank’s significant purpose-led investment in Para sport, which began in 2012 with its support of the US Olympic and Paralympic team.
In 2018 alone, Citi has sponsored the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Wheelchair Rugby World Championship in Australia, World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships in Ireland, Asian Para Games in Indonesia, and Para Powerlifting Americas Open Championships in Bogota.
Citi joins BP and Allianz as an International Paralympic Partner – the only brands with worldwide rights from outside the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) The Olympic Partners (TOP) programme.
From 2020, a new joint IOC-IPC marketing programme will come into effect, which has already led to further TOP sponsors adding Paralympic rights. Long-serving IPC partner Allianz has also moved in the opposite direction, and will become a Worldwide Olympic Partner from the 2020 cycle.
The TOP programme does not currently include a banking category – historically a key part of the local organising committees’ domestic commercial programme.
But Tokyo 2020’s model is not built on category exclusivity, with three local banks on board.
Japan, however, is not among the 18 countries in which Citi will have local rights through the NPC. They include Australia, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the UAE.
Citi plans to engage fans in these key markets for the bank through integrated marketing campaigns and promotions surrounding accomplishments of the countries’ para athletes as they prepare for upcoming world and regional championships, as well as 2020 in Japan.
Commenting on the partnership, Michael Corbat, Citi CEO, said: “Citi and the IPC are ideal partners because we share a deep passion for helping to foster a more diverse and inclusive society.
“These athletes have overcome adversity to achieve the world’s most elite level of sporting excellence. Their strength, perseverance and determination is truly what makes them exceptional, and we look forward to supporting their journey to compete on the global stage.”
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, added: “We are delighted that Citi joins the IPC as our third International Partner and that the company’s support extends to NPCs spanning four continents, as well as a number of Para athletes.
“We look forward to working closely with them to explore opportunities to further awareness of how our work transforms society and drives social inclusion.”